The Lone Star State: Vast, Vivid and Varied

Texas leaves an impression.

The largest state in the Continental United States spans more space than the nation’s 15 smallest states combined. But it’s not just the Lone Star State’s size that overwhelms visitors; it’s the sheer array of experiences available for them to pursue.

Leafy, rolling North Texas is a compelling place to start. Sprawling Dallas is the state’s third-largest city but when you include neighboring Fort Worth it becomes the largest metro area (and fourth largest in the U.S.). Start at the Sixth Floor Museum, where you can explore the story of John F. Kennedy’s assassination at the site. Down the street, the Dallas World Aquarium is home to a diverse array of marine life from around the world. If you’re a thrill-seeker, Six Flags over Texas resides in suburban Arlington, right next to the homes of the Dallas Cowboys and Texas Rangers.

Sample some Texas brisket in underrated Fort Worth, then hit the road for one of the fastest-growing cities in the country: Austin. Three hours south of the Metroplex, it’s a vibrant university town packed with dining and nightlife options. Tour the Texas State Capitol, then stroll down the street to the Bullock Texas State History Museum to deepen your understanding of your destination. Hike up Mount Bonnell to glimpse a gorgeous view of town, then refresh yourself with dinner and drinks in the popular Sixth Street district, which locals label the Live Music Capital of the World.

The next day, it’s time to journey even deeper into the heart of Texas. San Antonio is two hours from the Mexican border, and you’ll get a chance to immerse yourself in the diverse, dynamic Tex-Mex culture. Of course, no trip to the Alamo City is complete without a visit to the Alamo, located in the heart of town. Built in 1718, the former mission is where a handful of men fought to held off Mexican attackers during the Texas Revolution. Mexico won the battle but Texas won the war, and you can learn all about it with a visit to the restored site. Down the street is the city’s other signature spot, the River Walk, where you can amble along the San Antonio River, shop and eat.

When you’ve had your fill of tacos and tostadas, hit the road for Houston, our last stop. When you arrive in Space City, you’ll be hungry again. Drop by Killen’s Barbecue in Pearland for some soul-quenching smoked meat, then orbit your way southeast of town for an out-of-this-world experience: the U.S. Space Center. Johnson Space Center’s official visitor center offers immersive exhibits and special events that’ll acquaint you with the heroes who have ventured beyond our atmosphere. When you’re done, return to earth and take in a Houston Astros game downtown at Minute Maid Park.

The Lone Star State is as varied as the stars in the sky. You won’t emerge from your trip with just one lone impression: You’ll have many takeaways when you travel back home. Just remember: The eyes of Texas are always upon you.

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